California Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced on June 27 that the proposed online sports betting law would be featured in a vote. However, the tribal-specific initiatives strongly contradict the proposal.
The proposal would allow retail betting at tribal casinos and four-horse races across the state of California. Out of four points on California’s sports betting proposal, only two have been approved for the vote. The law proposals have been backed by about 1.6 million voters and the vote will be held in November to determine whether the legislation is passed.
One of the reasons for the plan is that California is a significant focus for many online betting companies. With a population of 39.2 million, California has the greatest potential gaming market in the U.S.
Benefits of legalizing online gambling in California
Based on the proportion in the online betting proposal, the tax revenue will be shared between the two parties. As much as 85 percent will be used to help the homeless and mental health, while the remaining 15 percent will go to tribes that are not directly involved in sports betting.
This is based on a point in the bill that says that “California Legalize Sports Betting and Revenue for the Homelessness Prevention Fund Initiative.” The points are approved by several major gambling operators such as FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings.
Regarding the proposal, California Finance Director Keely Martin Bosler provided an analysis that online sports betting can increase state revenues and has the potential to reach hundreds of millions of dollars per year. According to Bosler, this income comes from existing state and local revenues.
Tribes in California oppose the proposal
An initiative that seeks to legalize online betting and gambling in California met strong opposition from tribes in California. Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming and the Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming are leading the ongoing disapproval campaign and have raised over $65 million in funding by this far.
Moreover, the California Teachers Association (CTA) also gave a statement against the bill. The union and its 310,000 members also think that the legalization of online betting might not provide any benefit to the state and will only cause harm to the entire community.
Based on the proposal submitted, the Californian tribe has the opinion that this online betting initiative will increase gambling problems and will provide huge profits to offshore companies. They also have a poll-based argument stating that society does not support widespread online gambling.
Moreover, they fear that online sports betting will pave the way for online casinos. In this regard, they assert that online casinos can interfere with the local business property that they have been running for so long.
Brandon Castillo, a spokesman for the California tribal campaign, said that the party submitting the online betting proposal was “masquerading as a measure of homelessness.” He explained, “They’ve wrapped this up with the homeless. But when you open it, you’ll still find online gambling businesses.”
In addition, tribes in California through Cody Martinez argue that the legality of online gambling with various devices such as cellphones, tablets, computers, and laptops will have a bad impact. This is associated with an increased risk of underage gambling problems due to easy access to these betting sites.